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Major Medical Org Distances Itself From Child Sex Change Treatments

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a letter in The Wall Street Journal Sunday disputing claims that it had promoted cross-sex medical interventions for children who identify as transgender following a wave of public blowback.

The letter, written by AAP President Moira Szilagyi, claimed the “gender-affirming” approach the organization has promoted doesn’t actually push minors toward surgeries or other medical treatments and suggested the model actually discourages it. But the AAP endorsed the gender-affirming approach in a 2018 paper which promoted the integration of medical and mental health services for transgender youths and referred to any efforts to dissuade children from identifying as transgender as “conversion therapy,” noting efforts to make it illegal in various states.

“Gender-affirming care” is often used as a euphemism for sex changes, and can include treatments ranging from social transition (using a new name and preferred pronouns to reflect one’s gender identity) to biomedical interventions to help someone present as the opposite sex.

“Gender-affirming care can be lifesaving. It doesn’t push medical treatments or surgery; for the vast majority of children, it recommends the opposite,” Szilagyi wrote. “This care is nonjudgmental, includes families and allows questions and concerns to be raised in a supportive environment. This is what it means to ‘affirm’ a child or teen; it means destigmatizing gender variance and promoting a child’s self-worth.”

Szilagyi claimed the AAP used an evidence-based approach and condemned state-level legislation restricting “gender-affirming” treatments for minors. She did not clarify what procedures the AAP does and does not support for minors or when those would be appropriate.

“In its recommendations for caring for transgender and gender-diverse young people, the AAP advises pediatricians to offer developmentally appropriate care that is oriented toward understanding and appreciating the youth’s gender experience,” she wrote.

The letter was a response to a Wednesday article in the WSJ criticizing the AAP for silencing discussion on transgender treatments and for promoting flawed studies which claim to find medical interventions improve transgender youths’ mental health in Pediatrics, the medical journal run by the AAP. The journal has given a platform to researcher Jack Turban, an outspoken advocate for transgender medical interventions whose research is plagued with methodological issues and consistently promotes medical interventions, multiple Daily Caller News Foundation investigations have found.

“The AAP has stifled debate on how best to treat youth in distress over their bodies, shut down efforts by critics to present better scientific approaches at conferences, used technicalities to suppress resolutions to bring it into line with better-informed European countries, and put its thumb on the scale at Pediatrics in favor of a shoddy but politically correct research agenda,” the article read.

Some have expressed concern that, even as the AAP distances itself from transgender medical interventions, it continues to support an affirmative approach toward children who believe they’re transgender, which could cement what may otherwise be a temporary phase and lead children down a path toward lifelong biomedical interventions and sterilization.

The AAP did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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